Friday, June 29, 2012

After Day 40

For worship in Mankato, we took a survey about our worship.  Overall, the responses were very positive.  The most often seen negative feedback was about our volume, which could be related to us using our own sound system for the first time in Mankato.  Also, St. Mark's is the smallest sanctuary that we will lead worship in this summer, so we may have been victims of expecting our amps to be as loud as they had been.  Either way, we learned some things that we can improve on and were refocused on why we lead worship in the first place, to facilitate the worship of the people in the pews.

We spent another week in Lannon.  The work load was less than last time we were there, but more work had to be done musically than normal, so the extra time was nice.  We added two members of St. John's grade school who had approached us last time we were around to our arrangements.  Hattie sang and Maria played xylophone.  We appreciated their work.

We also worked on the school building preparing it to be wax and carpet cleaned.  We also spent some time with St. John's youth group, Wildfire.

We also had to prepare for and lead worship in West Bend, WI for Rev. Bob Hein's 25th anniverssary of being a pastor.  The service was very nice and the congregation was very kind to us also.  We got asked about recordings and about future visits to West Bend.

On Monday, we prepared for three events in three days.  We have worship in Pewaukee on Saturday night, Wisconsin Rapids on Sunday morning, and a concert in Ridgeway, MN on Monday night.  The services are pretty basic for us, but preparing for our first concert of the summer is really exciting.  We all enjoyed working on some really well-known Christmas hymns.  We are really proud of the arrangements we are playing for the concert, and we are also hoping that we prepared our concert well enough that it will show people the life of Jesus and his work.

We are on a week off right now and will come back together on Saturday for worship.  Keep praying for us.

"Speak, Oh Savior, I am listen as a servant to his Lord."

Monday, June 18, 2012

After Day 29

We are back in Lannon.  It's definitely nice to be back with the Caira's and to look forward to working with St. John's again.  We are spending our Monday preparing for the musical things we will be doing this week which includes hopefully adding two members to Fide from St. John's for the weekend.

Our two services in Arlington went very well last weekend.  The number of visitors wasn't as high as we would have hoped, but the main idea of our canvassing was to promote the soccer camp to lead kids to hear about Jesus.  We are hoping that soccer will be an opportunity for a bunch of new families in Arlington and the surrounding area to be exposed to their Savior.

Our week in Mankato was great too.  We got to canvass two neighborhoods and have a meet and greet with a Sudanese family belongs to St. Mark's.  We also got the details about VBS and how we will be helping with that.  We are looking forward to help St. Mark's put on a VBS that will get Mankato talking about St. Mark's and give them more opportunities for outreach.  Pray for them.

The services went well on Sunday and Thursday.  We took a survey of the congregation on Sunday to see how we can improve.  Other than one or two outliers who sound like they just dislike a band in worship more than they actually dislike us, most of the feedback was positive.  We were a little loud on Sunday...I blame it on being in bigger church buildings the last three weeks... ;)

We are looking forward to leading worship in Lannon this Sunday, and also leading worship in West Bend for Rev. Robert Hein's 25th anniversary of ministry on Sunday.  We thank God for servants like him.

Your prayers must be working because God is still taking care of us like we never could have expected.  Please continue bringing us to Jesus in your prayers.

"Praise to the Lord, the almighty, the king of creation."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

After Day 21

We had the awesome chance to participate in WELS Kingdom Worker's Music For Missions concert on Wednesday.  A bunch of other musicians and singers participated to benefit WKW.  We had a great time being part of the concert and heard a lot of really nice comments afterwards.  We were all able to mingle with people afterwards and even made some possible connections to have a few more stops on our summer tour.  It was a cool blessing to see a large group of God's people supporting those who are doing to the work of the church.  We thank God for Kingdom Workers.
This week in Arlington has been great. We were able to canvass all of Arlington and Gaylord, which included handing out 900 brochures about the soccer camp we are going to put on and even more leaflets inviting people to worship with us on Sunday. Each of us have great stories to tell from our experiences, but overall we are just thankful for the opportunity to invite people to hear about Jesus.

Sam created and built an awesome Time Machine prop (don't tell the kids that it's just a prop) for St. Paul's Back to Jerusalem VBS. You can check out the photo on our facebook page.  We also did a bunch of miscellaneous projects to help prep for VBS.

Our arrangements for Sunday are trying some new things.  We start "Open Now the Gates of Beauty" by singing the first line in four part harmony. 

Our host families, the Hanneman's and the Lukasek's have been way too good to us.  We have all been floored by the blessing of meeting so many awesome people even though this tour has barely started.  We are in a great place right now (literally and figuratively).  Keep praying for us. 

"Jesus, Jesus, only Jesus can my heartfelt longing still."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

After Day 17

It's like God is rubbing it in our faces!  Let me tell you why...  As if all the things that God has already done for us and through us weren't already amazing, recently God has given us more reasons to see him in everything we do.  We had a wonderful time worshipping at St. John's in Milwaukee.  We had to get up way earlier than I care to admit, but we made sure that all our arrangements were polished.  We played two services and attended Bible study in between, and the congregation was very supportive and welcoming. Pastor Goldschmidt and Mr. Hirschmann were very kind and accommodating for us, and the congregation as a whole had a lot of really nice things to say to us--they even took a freewill offering for us.  It was defintely more than we expected.  We packed up and got to experience Wisco's graduation that afternoon because Sam's brother, Michael, and our Lannon host family's son, Austin, were graduating and we wanted to support them.

After spending the night at the Jeske home, we drove to Arlington, MN and met up with Principal Eric Kaesermann who explained some of the things he wanted us to do throughout the week.  After that, we ate supper with Matt and Kristin Lukasek, who are also Caleb Schultz and Peter's host family for the week.  Kristin is in charge of VBS and had a bunch of ideas ready for us to work on.  Sam has a sweet vision for a time machine that will fit into the "Back to Jerusalem" theme of St. Paul's VBS this year. A few other art projects and prep work for VBS will also keep us busy.

Today, we canvassed a bunch of Gaylord, MN.  Initial results were mixed, but we had some cool experiences also.  Allow me to share just one story... I walked up to a house after not having much succes for the past half hour.  I prayed to God that he would allow one of the people in the next few houses to be interested in St. Paul's and the soccer camp.  At the very next house, a man named Mike walked out and told me that his son would be very interested in soccer camp.  In the heat of the moment, I also began to tell him about Fide and worship on Sunday.  He told me that he would probably be there on Sunday.  Now that's exciting!

Tomorrow, we are playing at MLC for WELS Kingdom Worker's "Music for Missions"  benefit concert. In order to fill our half-hour time slot, we tried to pick five hymns that really hammer home the message of Jesus as our only means for salvation forever and our only hope of peace in this life.

Keep praying for us.  God continues to bless us through those prayers.

"The king of love, my shepherd is, whose goodness fails me never.  I nothing lack if I am his, and he is mine forever."